As a wedding planner who works with many cultural couples, keeping uninvited guests out of their wedding is a concern that comes up often. In Nigerian, Indian and other family oriented cultures, a wedding is a time for celebrating with the couple and family, these weddings are normally very large, ranging anywhere from 300-1000 guests. Wedding crashers can range from a few extra guests to 200 guests or more. Having extra guests unplanned for can result in extra wedding cost, a rowdy and unorganized event and fire hazard concerns. Here are a few tips to help decrease the chances of having uninvited guests show up at your wedding.
- Keep close track of your guest list: Decide how many guests you can afford to have at your wedding and inform parents and families. Make parents aware how many people not couples or families they can invite. Keep in mind that the number of guests at a wedding directly affects cost. Decide early if you will be inviting children or not, if you will allow your cousins and friends to bring their boyfriends and girlfriends etc. Do make room in your guest list based on your decision.
- Don’t post where you’re getting married online. Most wedding Web sites allow you to make guest information, like the reception location, private via a password you distribute to invited guests. Take advantage. Otherwise, anyone who googles you may stumble upon your wedding details.
- Don’t allow anyone to RSVP to your wedding on your Web site: Even with a password-protected site, letting guests RSVP opens yourself up to crashers. That’s because most wedding sites aren’t sophisticated enough to match a guest’s name as a guest enters it to your stored invite list. And what often happens is that an invited guest will reply for herself, a plus-one that you may not have included, and maybe even a plus-two or -three if she has kids.
- Give guest instructions early in the planning process: On your invitation, do politely alert your guests that your event is by invitation only and/or that its an adult only event. Also put number of people in each family allotted for. For example, if a family has a husband, wife and two children, do indicate that four chairs have been allotted for them if you are having children . If you are not inviting children, alert them that two chairs have been reserved for the couple only.
- RSVP: Do have your guest rsvp with you at least a month before the wedding. For guests who dont return their rsvp cards, do have your wedding planner make follow-up phone calls to those guests to confirm their attendance or not.
- Follow-up , Follow up: This is an optional step for weddings with guest counts of 350 and up. Some couples have sent out tickets two weeks before the wedding with number of chairs allotted for guests and corresponding table number where guests will be seating. This makes guest aware that if they come with an extra person, there will not be a seat available.
- Hire a doorman: I rarely advocate turning a wedding reception into a velvet-rope club, but if you’re concerned about particular people showing up, do have people at the entrance checking for invitations or save the dates as proof that they were invited. Security will make a big dent in your budget, so leave room if this is a necessity for you.